Tailored Shirt from a Pattern

September 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Begin the same as you did the dress. Use the chart on the back of the pattern envelope to determine your size and the amount of fabric you need. Don’t forget to check for interfacing. Also, check the notions list for the number of buttons and what other binding or fasteners you might need.

Preshrink and straighten your fabric. Cut your pattern pieces apart and collect together the pieces you need for your chosen style.

Alter the pattern if necessary using the same steps. Lay out your pattern, noting which pattern pieces must be cut on the fold and which need to be cut more than once. Remember to measure from the ends of the straight-with-the-grain arrows to the fold or selvage. Mark things like darts, pocket hems and locations, cuff openings and so on. Collect the pieces that will need interfacing and either cut them out all at once as directed in your guide or cut them from the fabric pieces. The rest of the order will depend on the particular style of the shirt you are making. Finishing the front edge is often the next step. Pockets may come either before or after that. If your pattern has front yokes, they will be sewn onto the front pieces before the front edge is finished and either before or after the pockets. Follow the order of steps as they are presented in the guide.

Finishing the Front Edges
Front edges of shirts are finished a number of different ways. Because there will be buttons and buttonholes added to the front, or in some cases snaps, interfacing is almost always included. You may add a front band to the buttonhole side. Often, the front is hemmed over a strip of interfacing, then folded over and topstitched to simulate a front band.

Other shirts are designed with an extension to the front pieces that serve as facings. You will turn the far outside edge under and stitch it, but you won’t fold over the facing until after you’ve attached the collar.

Finishing the Edges
Because you won’t want the bulk of two layers of fabric in your shirt pocket, these can’t be lined and turned. The edges need to be turned under neatly and accurately Misshapen pockets will detract from the appearance of the entire garment.

Begin by pressing the top edge under ¼”. If your fabric takes a crease well, you may not need to stitch this fold down. Fold the top of the pocket again, this time toward the front at the hemline. This will either be marked on the pattern piece or the distance will be noted in the guide. Stitch the ends of the hem. Clip the corners diagonally and trim the seam allowance of the folded portion to 1/4”.

Turn the hem to the back and press, making sure the top corners are good, sharp points. Press the rest of the edges of the pocket. If your pocket has angled corners, press the sides and bottom first. Press the corners over them, being careful that the overlaps in the seam allowance are smooth and flat.

If your pocket has a pointed bottom, fold the bottom and side corners up to the ~1/8” line, and then fold the sides over them. Make sure you are as accurate as possible. If you fold the corners up too far, the corners will have a rounded appearance; not far enough, and the side folds will overlap one another making the corner too thick.

Stitching the Pocket
Sometimes the guide will ask you to topstitch the pocket before it is sewn to the shirt. This may include a line of stitching at the bottom of the hem and ¼” from the outside edge of the rest of the pocket. It may ask for these outlining stitches after the pocket is sewn on the shirt as a way of reinforcing the application stitches. If your fabric doesn’t hold a crease well, consider doing it before in order to hold the edges under while you place your pocket.
Locate the marked dots on the shirt front piece or pieces. These dots will be on the underside of your fabric, and you will need to attach your pocket to the outside, of course. From the back, run a pin in and out of the fabric just at the dot. Use the pins to help you place the pocket. Remember to remove these pins before you begin stitching.

If you’ve altered your shirt pattern, it might be wise to check the placement of the pocket. In front of a mirror, hold the shirt with the front up, using the side seam and neck edge to place it as close as possible to how it will wear. Move the pocket if it looks like it is out of place.

Stitch close to the sides and lower edges of your pocket(s).

Pocket flaps are easy to add. Stitch the two pieces together at all but the top end. Clip, turn, and press. Topstitch the flap, and add a buttonhole. Place it above the pocket with the raw edge ½” above the top of the pocket. Stitch 1/411 from this edge. Press the flap down and stitch ½” from the fold. The raw edge is between these two rows of stitching.

Types of Collars
The collars on most tailored shirts are rolled collars, meaning the collar itself rolls or folds over. The base of the collar stands up at the neck edge. This base might be made from a separate piece called a stand—making it a two-piece collar—or it might be all one piece. The way to tell if your pattern has a rolled collar is to look at the shape of the seam line that will be attached to the shirt. This will be the notched edge of the collar piece. If it is straight or nearly so, you have a rolled collar.

Another possible shirt collar is a flat collar. It will lie flat against the neck edge.

A stand collar and a mandarin collar stand up after they are sewn on. They are made from a straight or only slightly curved narrow strip. Think of it as the collar stand of a rolled collar without the collar itself. The difference between the two is the stand collar opens in back, while the mandarin opens in front.

Basic Construction
Any of these collars is going to be constructed essentially the same way Cut the interfacing, and stitch or fuse it to one of the collar pieces. Trim the interfacing close to the stitching. This piece will probably be the bottom piece of the collar. Sew the two collar pieces together, leaving the notched edge open. Clip the corners and curves, grade the seam allowances, turn it right side out, and press it.

If you have a two-piece collar, the stand pieces will probably be sewn on either side of the collar at this point. One of these pieces will need interfacing as well.

To add collar stays, measure your stay at an angle from the corner seam allowance and place a tiny buttonhole 1/411 from the tip. Slide the collar stays through the buttonholes after the collar is together but before you topstitch. The topstitching will hold the stays in place.

Self-Facing Collars
Some shirt collars are self-facing. This actually makes a cleaner inside neck edge because there is no facing to tack to the seam allowances. To make a self-facing collar, fold the notched edge of upper collar or stand under ~/8” before you stitch it to the bottom collar or stand.

Line the notched edge of the bottom collar up with the neckline. The neckline’s seam allowance will need to be clipped to make it open enough to let the collar lie flat. Pull the folded edge of the upper collar out of the way and stitch the collar to the neckline.

Some pattern guides will tell you to sew your collar onto the right side of the shirt, while others tell you to sew it onto the wrong side. This depends on how the individual collars are intended to roll. A collar sewn onto the right side will fold midway or so on the collar. The inside is not expected to show; therefore, it is the side with the blind stitching. A collar that’s sewn to the wrong side will fold along the faced front, creating a sort of lapel effect. The inside of the collar seam will show more than the outside, which will always be covered by the collar itself. The inside, then, should have the neater, machine stitches.

Faced Collars
Faced collars are made in a very similar fashion, except neither edge of the collar is turned under. The collar is treated as one piece as it is sewn to the neck edge, and then the facing is sewn on to finish the edge.

They may be part of the facing that finishes the front edge. The facing pieces might also be a fold-over facing that is part of the shirt front itself.

The collar might even be finished with a combination of the two techniques. The collar is attached to the neck edge through one layer of the collar only as if it were self-facing. The front facing is folded over, and the part of the collar in front of the shoulder seam is treated like the usual faced collar. The seam allowance will need to be clipped to allow part of the allowance to fold down under the facing and the rest to fold up inside the collar. If your pattern calls for epaulettes, put them together just like the pocket flaps. Sew the raw edge at the armhole edge centered over the shoulder seam.

Making Cuff Openings
Sleeves with cuffs require an opening in the sleeve itself big enough to allow a hand to fit through. This slit is finished with either a hem, a binding strip, facing, or a placket. Your guide will direct you to finish this opening before you sew the sleeve seam because it is easier to do while the sleeve is still flat.

Hemmed Cuff Opening
For a hemmed cuff opening, the opening is generally a straight slit. Its exact position will be marked on the pattern. Make narrow hems on both sides. Fold the sleeve, right sides together, with these two narrow hems aligned. Sew a sort of tiny dart at the point of the slit to bring the bit of raw edge to the inside and to reinforce the end so the slit doesn’t tear farther.

Binding Strip Finish
The pattern piece designed to finish a cuff opening with this type of finish is often called a continuous lap. Press the edges of the long sides under as you would to make a single-fold binding strip.

The sleeve pattern will indicate where the slit should be. Often a staystitching line is indicated. Make the slit after the stay-stitching is completed. Open out the slit so it is as straight a line as possible. Sew the continuous lap over the slit much like other applications of seam binding.

Easing in the Sleeves
Occasionally dresses and frilly blouses will have gathered sleeves. These are gathered onto the armhole the way ruffles are. However, a tailored shirt is going to need to be eased on instead. What this means is the sleeve is almost gathered but not enough to make any actual puckers.

Begin by running a row of stitching between the notches on the sleeve. Your guide may have told you to do this before you sewed the arm seam. You will also need to sew the side seams on the shirt itself and press these allowances open.

Turn the shirt inside out. Put a sleeve, right side out, into the proper position at the armhole. Right and left sleeves are not interchangeable. Be sure that the notch groupings on the sleeves correspond to the same groupings on the shirt. Match and pin the pieces together at the notches, the underarm seams, and the center dot on the sleeve and the shoulder seam. Add pins every couple of inches. Use a pin to pull slightly on the easing stitches until the sleeve fits.

Stitch a seam around the armhole. Be careful not to let the needle go through more than one layer of the sleeve at once. The tiny “gathers” in the sleeve that ease it to fit need to be under the loops of thread that make the stitches not at the point where the needle enters— so they do not show as puckers.

Clip the seam allowance at the underarm curve and press the allowance toward the sleeve.

Finishing with Buttons and Hem
The next thing your guide will call for is probably the hem. This might be straight or curved. The front facing may fold over it before it is top-stitched down.

Buttonholes need to be marked and stitched. Your pattern will show their placement or the guide will recommend a certain distance between them. Don’t forget the buttonholes on the cuffs as well. Make buttonholes on both sides of the cuffs if you would rather use cuff links.

Sew the buttons across from the holes. A trick to make sure they align perfectly is to lay the buttonhole side over the button side, making sure they are even at the top. Pin the layers together at the top and bottom. Through the buttonholes, run a pin in and out of the button side. Unpin the layers, and carefully slip the buttonholes over the pins. Sew the buttons where the pins are.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Making Curtains

September 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Planning Your Curtains
Before you rush to the fabric store to buy your fabric, you need to make a few decisions. Will the room benefit from having the curtains extend beyond the window, or should the outside edge of the woodwork be visible around the curtain? Do you want the curtains to hover just above the sill, hang to the bottom of the lower edge of the woodwork or apron, or hang clear to the floor? Perhaps they belong somewhere in between.

Do you want sheer curtains to diffuse the light, or heavier ones to block it? Or are you more interested in a window treatment for its decorative value? Should they be a solid color to bring out a color in the room or a print to tie several colors or neutral tones together? Your answers to these questions will help you determine the type and location of your hardware and the type of fabric and style of curtain you choose.

Begin with the simple shirred curtains. Shirred curtains are the most basic type of curtains. The top of the curtain is hemmed with a casing through which the curtain rod is inserted, gathering the curtain along its length. Shirred curtains will not slide open and closed easily though they are often tied at the sides, framing the window with a graceful draped effect. They are also not appropriate for very heavy fabrics because of the difficulty of gathering them on a rod. Most other curtains use some of the same construction techniques as the shirred.

Your first consideration is the weight of the fabric. The more sheer the fabric, the fuller the curtains should be. Usually the width of the curtain or curtain pair is twice the width of the curtain rod. Heavier curtains might only be 1½ times the width, and sheer curtains can be three times as wide.

Decide whether you want one straight curtain that hangs over the window at all times or is pulled to one side for an asymmetrical look, or if you want two panels that meet in the center and are tied back or dropped into place as desired. Curtains on doors or casement windows are often shirred at the bottom as well as the top. Determine the placement of the lower rod and use it when figuring your measurements.

Next, decide on the length of the curtains. To this length, add 4” for a top hem and casing, or 7” if you want a 1 1/2” heading. A heading is a small ridge of ruffled curtain above the casing. Add more if you have a wide, flat curtain rod. Also add 6” for a bottom hem. You could make narrower hems, but the extra fabric inches add crispness to the top and weight to the bottom. If you are using a bottom rod, add the length for its casing instead of the lower hem.

If piecing is necessary, the seams should be on the vertical to hide among the folds. The width of your curtains in relation to the width of your fabric will tell you how many of the figured lengths of fabric you will need. Since selvages sometimes shrink, you will be trimming them away reducing the fabric’s width by at least 1/2”. Another 2” of width will be lost if you are piecing two; 1” will be lost from the width of a middle length if you are piecing three. There will be 2” used on each side of each curtain for hems, further reducing the width of your fabric lengths.

If you need just under 1 1/2 times the width of the fabric to make each of two curtains, you will need three times the total length of your finished curtains, plus 10” for the hems. In other words, plan to use a length for each curtain and a third length to split between the two. Add 1” or so per yard for possible shrinkage, and you have an approximation of the yardage you’ll need

If you choose a fabric with a print that will need to be matched, take the distance from one repeat of the pattern to the next. Multiply that measure by the number of lengths of fabric, and add that to the total yardage.

Choosing Curtain Fabrics
You’ll have a wide variety of fabrics to choose from. However, besides the
fabrics that are too heavy to shirr, there are a few things to avoid.
Pure cotton fabrics are sensitive to the sun and fade rather quickly If your curtains will catch any direct sunlight, cotton polyester blends will last longer. They have a crisper look as well. If you like the rustic look of cotton, choose linen or undyed muslin.

Also avoid prints that have any kind of noticeable horizontal design unless it is woven in. If a printed design is off grain, it will make your entire window treatment look crooked. And if you try to cut your curtain with the print rather than the grain, your curtains will never hang in straight folds.
If your curtain fabric is washable, preshrink it. A great many yards of fabric will be difficult to straighten all at once, so pull threads to cut your fabric into lengths and straighten them individually If you have a pattern to match, simply start each length at exactly the same place in the pattern, cut it to the correct length (the finished curtain plus your hem and heading allowances), then cut away the fabric to the next pattern repeat.

With the lengths cut out and straightened, cut away all selvage edges. Split any lengths that are wider than necessary. You can usually pull lengthwise threads to make a straight cut.

Sewing Your Curtains
If your fabric is the right width for your curtains, you are ready to hem them. If not, begin by piecing the lengths together.

The best way to seam your lengths together is with a French seam. Begin by deciding where these seams should be. Typically the narrower length should be toward the outside of the window to be less noticeable. Take care to keep all printed designs, naps, and one-way shines in the right direction.

To make a French seam, pin your two lengths of fabric together with the wrong sides together. Sew a narrow 1/4” seam along the edge. Press the seam open, then turn the fabric right sides together and press the seam again. If the fabric wants to slide, pin the seam. Sew a second seam ~/8” from the first seam to hide the raw edge within the seam. Press the seam flat against the curtain.

Hemming the Sides
Press the sides of each panel under 2”. A sewing gauge is very helpful here. Fold the raw edge under to the fold line. If you are after a country or rustic look, you can straight-stitch the side hems close to the fold. For a more formal curtain, either use the hemstitch on your machine or do the hems by hand.

Making the Casings and Headings
If you didn’t include extra fabric for a heading, press the top of the curtain panels under 4”, and then press the raw edge under in line with the crease. Pin the hem carefully so the corners of the top casing’s hem don’t extend beyond the side hems. Hemstitch with your machine or by hand.

If you added extra fabric for a heading, press the raw edge under 5’/2”. Then press the raw edge under 2”. Sew close to the hem edge with a straight or hemstitch. Sew another row of stitches 1½” from the top edge. This will define the heading, and the casing for the rod will be below it. Either set up a temporary guide on your machine for sewing 1½” from the edge, or mark the stitching line with pins or chalk.

Hemming the Bottom
Before you hem the bottom of your curtains, compare the panels. Put them wrong sides together to compare the center and outside lengths. Trim one if necessary. Compare again after the hem is pressed under and before you stitch it. If you are anchoring your curtain with a rod on the bottom, make the bottom casing the same way you did the top.

If you allowed 6” for the bottom hem, press the raw edge under that amount then press the raw edge to the fold line. This hem can be stitched the same way the upper casing was. Or, to be sure the hem allowance doesn’t stick out beyond the sides, you can fold the corners under. To do this, fold only as far as the side hemstitching. Be sure the lower corner is still sharp. Blind-stitch along the diagonal crease to keep it from coming out.

Permalink 1 Comment

Handkerchief-top Pillow

September 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Making a Handkerchief Top
A pillow with a bit of a Victorian look can be made from four identical embroidered handkerchiefs. You will need a square of fabric for the pillow back and a top square of that same size that will show as a border around the handkerchiefs. Two rounds of ruffled lace are optional.

Planning Your Pillow
Your pillow can be any size you want. The amount of the top that is covered by the handkerchiefs will depend on the size of the embroidered design on them. Fold the hankies into squares that are a little larger than the embroidery, and place them together in a square with the embroidery at the outside corners. Move them together or farther apart until you like the effect. Determine the size you’ll want each hankie to be, adding seam allowances.

If the edges of the hankies are shaped, making it difficult to use as seam allowances, or if the embroidery is too close to the edges to allow for seams, consider putting the embroidery toward the center instead of the outside corners. The curved edges of the hankies will expose some of the border fabric between them at the center.

You will need the hankies to be connected before they are sewn on the border fabric so you can turn the edges under as one piece or ring the hankies with ruffle. To do this, sew two of the hankies next to each other to a piece of waste fabric from the hankies. Stitch close to the finished edging, but stop before the edgings curve away from each other. Trim the waste fabric so it doesn’t show.

Repeat with each joint.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Making Pillows

September 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Learning the Basics
Pillows can be made from nearly any fabric. Consider what use the pillow will get when you are choosing between washable and nonwashable fabrics and stuffing. Allow extra seam allowance for fabrics that tend to fray.

Stuffing Material
For best results, use polyester pillow stuffing or ready-made forms. If you want to use a form, purchase it before you cut your pillow fabric, because they are available only in a limited number of sizes. Foam rubber can be cut to order if you can find it available. Cut it about 1” larger than your finished pillow’s dimensions. You’ll want the edges and corners to compress, or your pillow will have a boxy look with empty seams.

Other possibilities for stuffing include shredded foam rubber, which will look fine for decorative pillows but will be uncomfortably lumpy for a pillow for sleeping or sitting on. You can get fair results by recycling women’s hose. Be sure to cut away all elastic and seams, including reinforced toes. Stuff the pillow tightly so the individual hose don’t separate into lumps.

Cut and Stitch
When your pillow is stuffed, it is going to appear smaller than the seam-to-seam measurements. For a pillow to look 12” square, you will need to cut your fabric about 16” by 16”, allowing for ½” seams and about 3” total for thickness. Cut your pillow on the grain of your fabric to assure that it will keep its shape.

If you’ve chosen a stretchy fabric or one with a very loose weave, or if you need to cut your fabric off-grain in order to get the desired effect, make a casing or lining out of muslin or other firm fabric that won’t show through your pillow fabric. Make the casing the same size as your pillow, stuff it, and use it to stuff your pillow once it is together, or use the fabric as lining, stitch the muslin pieces to the back of your pillow fabric pieces, then treat them as one fabric. The back of your pillow can be identical to the front, or it can coordinate. If your front is odd-shaped, pin it to the back fabric—right sides together—and trim the back to fit after they are sewn together.

Stitch ½” from the cut edge all around, leaving a gap of a few inches. If possible, leave your gap in a straight line for easier blind stitching. If you’ve chosen foam rubber or a pillow form, leave nearly all of one side unstitched to make it easier to insert the stuffing Turn and Stuff

Turn your pillow right side out through the gap. Poke out the corners with something blunt and press. Be as accurate as possible when pressing the seam allowance under at the gap so it won’t look different from the rest of the pillow edge.

If you want to have a tiny lip around your pillow, a sort of mock piping, topstitch 1/8 ” from the edge after you’ve turned your pillow all the way around except at the gap. Topstitching is stitching done on the outside that is expected to show. Finish the topstitching after you’ve stuffed the pillow.

Stuff your pillow thoroughly. If you are using bagged stuffing, a wooden spoon can be helpful to get the corners and the rest well packed. Don’t skimp on the stuffing. It will compress a little with use, and you don’t want your pillows getting that floppy, sunken look.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Preparing Your Fabric

September 11, 2008 at 2:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

That lovely fabric you’ve just brought home from the store isn’t quite ready to cut yet. There are a few things you need to do first before you begin your sewing project.

Preshrink Your Fabric
Any machine-washable fabric with natural fibers ought to be washed. Cotton and linen both might shrink slightly the first time they are washed. Wash the fabric in the way you plan to wash the project when it is finished. Clipping the corners of the fabric through the selvage seems to keep new fabric from fraying quite as much. After it’s washed, cut away the worst of the tangled threads and shake the fabric out before putting it in the dryer, so it won’t wrinkle as badly. To prevent fraying entirely, zigzag-stitch along the cut ends of your fabric.

Hand wash-only and dry clean-only fabrics don’t need to be laundered before sewing. You will be taking special care throughout the life of the finished product to see that they don’t shrink.

Synthetic fabric will not shrink anyway, so washing is optional. Some have a crisp finish when they are new, which makes them slightly easier to work with if you don’t wash it out. However, if the fabric is slightly offgrain, that finish is going to make it impossible to straighten. In this case, you’ll have to go ahead and wash it before working

Iron Your Fabric
If your fabric is heat tolerant, you may need to iron it before you lay out your pattern or measure to cut patternless crafts. Wrinkles will make your cutting inaccurate. Choose the iron setting appropriate for your particular fabric. Some extremely wrinkled fabrics may be difficult to even test for straightness until they’ve been ironed. In that case, iron it again after you’ve straightened it to help set the new position.

Some permanent press fabrics and knits will not need to be ironed. As soon as they are straightened, they are ready to go.

And now you are ready to sew!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Fabric Basics

September 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

There are many different elements to consider when selecting fabrics for your new project. Below is a description of the pros and cons on choosing certain fabrics over others.

Selecting Synthetics
Technically speaking, synthetics such as polyester and nylon are produced chemically, while rayon is made from plant material regenerated into fibers. They are often grouped together because they are all man-made fibers and because they share many of the same characteristics.

Rayon has been available since 1910. It has improved a great deal since then and is nearly as comfortable as cotton, only more flowing. It can be hand washed and ironed with a warm iron. Never use a hot iron on it or it will burn and pucker up.

Though they are usually easy to care for, washable, and permanent press, pure synthetics do not breathe. Because of this, they are not as comfortable to wear as natural fabrics. They also fray more than natural fabrics, making them unsuitable for some projects.

When they are mixed with linen, cotton, or wool, however, synthetics add many of their desirable qualities to the natural fibers. These blends, especially cotton/polyester, are often the best choices for garment construction, being both easy to sew and easy to care for afterward. They keep their crisp, like-new appearance longer than the natural fabrics do

Cotton’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Either as pure cotton or mixed with synthetic fibers, cotton is often the best choice because it is soft, washable, generally colorfast, and easy to work with. Most cotton is plain weave, which means the fabric has a flat even texture. Cotton can range in weight from sheer gauze to heavy canvas. It comes in a seemingly limitless array of solids and prints.

Cotton will fade eventually with repeated washing but is actually more vulnerable to the sun. In spite of this, it is a very popular cloth for outdoor wear because it breathes; that is, it allows air to pass through it. It is also absorbent and wicks sweat away from your body.

A Look at Linen
Linen is similar to cotton and is made from the fibers in the stems of the flax plant. It has been around for more than 7,000 years. Ancient Egyptians grew flax along the Nile River and wrapped their mummies in it before placing them in their tombs. Through Roman times, the Middle Ages, and colonization of the Americas, it remained the most popular fabric. It wasn’t until the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, which made cotton cheaper to produce, that linen slipped in popularity Flax isn’t grown commercially in the United States, and all linen is imported.

Linen fabric is tougher than cotton and wears longer. It is even more absorbent than cotton, making it particularly popular in hot climates. It tends to wrinkle worse than cotton and is often mixed with other fibers to make it more crease-resistant. Linsey-woolsey is a mixture of linen and wool and has been around since the fifteenth century A silk-and-linen mix is shiny and softer than pure linen.

Choosing Wisely
Besides a little background into the types of fabric available, there are a few general things to consider as you shop for fabric. To make this easier, let’s begin with some fabric and fabric store terms.

Fabric is generally sold by the yard or fraction of a yard and is sometimes referred to as yard goods. It is usually displayed at the store in large rolls called bolts. The tightly woven edges of the fabric are called selvages. The threads that run parallel to them are called lengthwise or warp threads. The cut edge is called the raw edge, and the threads running along that direction are called crosswise or weft threads. The bias is an imaginary line running diagonally across these two threads at a 45-degree angle. This line has the most stretch.

What Does It Look Like?
Once you’ve found the type of fabric you need for your project, you will probably be attracted to certain colors or prints. If you are buying fabric to coordinate with something else, be sure to bring it (or a swatch of the material you’re trying to match, if it’s difficult to carry around) with you so you can see them together. Take the bolt of fabric near a window if you can, so you can see how the fabric looks in natural light. It may look very different than it does under artificial lights in the store.

Often fabric is folded right sides together when it is wound on the bolt. Be sure you unroll it enough that you can see both sides. In fact, you ought to unroll enough of the fabric that you can play with it a little. Let some fall over your hand.

Knowing Your Knits
Nearly any of the fibers already mentioned can be knitted instead of woven. The most common knit fabrics, however, are cotton jersey and polyester knits.

Jersey is lightweight, stretchy, and a bit tricky to work with. Special care needs to be taken to ensure the pieces keep their shape while you are stitching. If the fabric stretches and the seam does not, the thread in the seam is going to break. To avoid this, you must stitch with a narrow zigzag stitch or a special stretch stitch, which is usually two stitches forward and one back.

The heavier polyester knits, especially double knits, were very popular in the 1970s. They are less stretchy than jersey, so they are easier to work with and make extremely easy-care garments. They are mostly out of style now, but a few polyester knits might be found. They are great for some craft projects because they do not ravel, and the interlocking double-knit process keeps them from being prone to runs like regular knits.

Permalink Leave a Comment